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Public sector e-billing standard poses new challenges for SME


In the future invoices must be transmitted electronically, i.e. in machine-readable manner, as XML files to contracting authorities. The federal state and local governments will be obliged to accept these invoice formats. The new standard "XRechnung" developed for this purpose poses new challenges for small and medium-sized companies ("SME") as well as for a large number of public authorities. A new and free service of cosinex - xrechnung.io - is intended to help both contractors and clients.

The so-called e-invoicing directive of the EU intends that all public clients have to be able to receive electronic invoices (the federal government already since November 2018, any other public clients from April 2020 at the latest) in a structured, i.e. machine-readable form. In the future, it will even be intended in some cases to exclusively accept invoices addressed to the public sector electronically.

Solutions for the automated generation of invoices (if, for example, craftsmen and/or other SME already use current and commonly established office programs) often do not support the new XRechnung standard. The transmission of an invoice as a simple PDF file or as a scan does not comply with the standard, nor does it satisfy the legal requirements for an electronic invoice in the sense of its specifications, since these need to be compulsory transmitted as structured and machine-readable data in an XML file (in the format of the new standard XRechnung).

Furthermore, many public purchasers who have to accept such invoices do not yet have the option of displaying or checking the validity of such a file.

The new service xrechnung.io - under the identic Internet address www.xrechnung.io - offers companies the option of creating an XRechnung-compliant electronic invoice free of charge using simple entry masks. Conversely, the service offers public-sector clients the option of displaying an invoice received in this format, printing it (if still necessary) and checking its validity.

"With this new Microservice, we want to make it easier for contractors and public sector clients to get started with e-billing", explains Carsten Klipstein, CEO of cosinex GmbH, which offers the new service.

About the XRechnung format

The XRechnung data format is the German data model based on EU-wide regulated standards for electronic invoices that are transmitted to public authorities.

With this standard, Germany implements the specifications of the European Committee for Standardization (CEN) for data contained in an electronic invoice. The standard was adopted by the German IT Planning Council, consisting of representatives of the federal state and of local governments.

cosinex Microservices

Under the keyword "Microservices" cosinex offers a range of free services around the field of public procurement. Specifically, these are

XRechnung.io has now been added to these services.

Like all cosinex microservices, new technologies and software architecture approaches are used for the first time in practice parallel to the implementation of the functions. According to the technical approach of Microservices, the services are designed in a way that they are not only accessible on the Internet (and can thus be used via frontend), but also via interfaces.